UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. Eighty percent of those affected by the disease are women.

Bone Density tests are the best way to detect osteoporosis. They are safe, painless, non-invasive, fast and essential to monitoring bone health.

Prevention of Osteoporosis

  • Get enough calcium - Most women don't get nearly the full amount of calcium they need each day. You also need vitamin D to help the body absorb calcium, but most women get enough from natural sunlight and supplements in milk.
  • Get enough exercise - Any type of weight-bearing exercise (30 minutes a day) helps keep your bones and muscles strong and agile. Examples include anything where you support your own weight (walking, dancing, stair climbing) or use free weights or weight machines.
  • Don't smoke - Smoking is associated with lower bone density and higher risk of osteoporosis.
  • Don't abuse alcohol - Alcohol is toxic to the cells that build bone. It also decreases levels of calcium, vitamin D and estrogen in the body, so it can be harmful to bones in large doses.
  • Avoid skipping meals and extreme diets - They can rob your bones and body of the nutrients and hormones they need.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy - If you have gone through menopause, ask your doctor if you are a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy, which can help prevent bone loss.